Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Security Blankets

I have some security blankets. There, I said it.

[photo source]
Like sweet Linus from Peanuts, sometimes I just need a little something to make me feel safe and "at home" again when the world is spinning too fast for my liking. For me, those blankets aren't necessarily physical objects that I clutch in my hand (anymore -my childhood teddy bear has officially taken up residence in the guest room-), but have evolved into forms of entertainment that allow me to escape my world and all of the confusion, stress, drama, apprehension of the future, and every other bad feeling or emotion that it may contain. Generally, any good album, film, or book (series) can help temporarily distract me from my stressers, but sometimes I need my go-to security blankets to slow the world back down when I can't seem to get a firm grip on anything. Lately, my life has hosted its fair share of frustrations and chaos, and as a result, I've been venturing back more and more to my safe places looking for that comfort and familiarity that they provide.

Currently (this minute), the biggest Bad in my life is my perceived loss of control and sense of self. I feel like I've become a slave to (in)fertility and her many cumbersome treatments. Each day/week largely consists of a calculated diet, an exercise regimen, doctor visits or calls, insurance questions, acupuncture sessions, checking my temperature, peeing on sticks, swallowing various forms of medication, enduring negative side effects, monitoring any changes in any symptoms in my body and mind, attempting to understand everything, trying to not expect anything, making all efforts to avoid looking into the future all the while hoping and longing for that unsure future. Basically, it feels like every minute of my life is determined for me. I'm trying to do what I'm told to do by people whom I trust and respect, and do all of those things with only positive thoughts and emotions without recognizing the dark, misting raincloud that seems to hover over my whole world. I strive to meet those requirements with very few freedoms or choices of my own. Needless to say, I frequently find myself grasping for a sense of control and familiarity. Enter my metaphorical security blankets.

If I've simply had a bad day and I only want to unwind on my way home from work or while I'm making my evening salad for dinner, I'll turn to my "afghan" security blanket: my best friend, Taylor Swift. She and I have such a great relationship. We just get each other. So, as I drive away from my bad day, I blast her music, belt out every single word to each song, dance around the kitchen, and gladly enter into Taylor's world and forget my own. Her music is my afghan, because it's pretty and small and easily accessible.

[photo source]
 If a 45-minute commuter concert isn't quite cutting it and I need a full evening away from my own life, then I'll crash on the couch and pop in one of my go-to DVDs. I love Dirty Dancing and Moulin Rouge! both so incredibly much for so many very specific reasons that I won't necessarily go into full detail right now. (The love! The dancing! The songs! The costumes! The theatricality! The woman-is-worth-more-than-she-ever-thought-before!)

But these two films uniquely qualify as security blankets because of my personal history with them. In college, I would watch either of them as I studied, did homework, or wrote term papers. At the time, they provided a perfect distraction; one that would keep me from hearing the chatter in the hallway and wanting to join, but didn't demand my full attention because I knew them by heart. Music would beg me to sing along, and regular television programs would urge me to see how they ended. But Dirty Dancing and Moulin Rouge! were perfectly there for me. I could tune them out when I needed to focus, and I could turn around and join in the storyline at anytime that I needed a mental break from the school work.

From 2002 - 2006, my favorite two movies were my college companions. Now, they serve a new role as a couple of my "fleece throw" security blankets. When I sit down and watch one of them, the familiarity of the story lines, the song lyrics, the memories attached to different scenes all make my heart calm down from its now-typically quickened pace. In this other world, I know what's going to happen. I know how each person is going to react. I know what they're going to say, and I can recite the lines right alongside them in unison. I don't have to wonder or try to make sense of anything or be anxious with a ton of apprehensions looming in my mind. I can just rest in the safe place that their love and their stories provide and completely escape the heaviness of my own life for an evening. Since these act as fleece throws in my life, I keep them readily handy, pull them up to my chin, and snuggle up under the comfort they provide.

[photo sources: one and two]
However, the Big Daddy of all Safe Places is Hogwarts. When I need more than one night "off" from my brain, when my emotional muscles grow too weak to carry the weight of it all anymore, I run into the arms of JK Rowling's magical world of Harry Potter. This is my most sufficient way to escape. It's a long-term relief with the fantasy lasting weeks or months or however long I want it to, but it only requires short-term commitments of reading at a time. I can go back there, whenever I choose, for merely a few minutes if I simply need a break to clear my head, or I can go back there for hours on end if I need to better forget all of the responsibilities and burdens I'm hauling.

I can experience Harry's journey with him all over again from start to finish. Alongside this boy wizard, I can realize that I, too, am capable of great things I never knew possible, learn of magical places and creatures, meet fantastic characters and form strong, life-long relationships, and eventually understand that I am destined to fulfil a calling and a purpose that no one else is equipped to do. Through Harry, I can leave all of my troubles behind and soar with him on the backs of thestrals and dragons and finally, after much struggle, defeat the bad guy once and for all. For the moments that I am entered into Hogwarts, my life is free and light and fun and magical. And familiar. This book series is my biggest, softest, comfiest, covers-the-whole-bed security blanket of them all.

Recently, I purchased and downloaded all seven books in electronic form. I can't even describe how wonderful and therapeutic that was for me. Just knowing that I had the entire series on hand at all times on my kindle or my iPhone literally sent a sense of physical calm and relief through my body. (Yes. I may be crazy.) What those e-books provided me was a completely accessible security blanket any time I might need it. Just having the blanket present actually created a safe place in itself. Any time life gets too crazy or chaotic or confusing or scary or overwhelming, I can whip out one of my electronic devices and quickly retreat into the fantasy world. It helps me not be afraid of what's to come. I can handle the coming days and weeks and months (and years?), because I know that the very moment it all gets to be too much for me to take, I can dive into the safety of Hogwarts. What an amazing resource a security blanket can be. 

[photo source]
Do you have a "security blanket?" Where is your safe place to escape when the real world gets too much? And have the forms which your security blankets take morphed over time as you've gotten older?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

In Taylor News

Taylor shared some exciting news last night! During a live web chat, she announced that her new album is entitled "Red," will be released on October 22, 2012, and will contain 16 tracks, many of which feature various cowriters. Yahoo! I'm sure Album #4 will be just as good as its three predecessors. If you missed the big announcement, you can still watch the entire video online, even though it's not technically "live" anymore. 

At the end of the webchat, she debuted her first single from her forthcoming album called "We Are Never Ever getting Back Together". It's definitely different than any Taylor songs in the past. It's much more pop and doesn't even try to be country (I think she's also releasing a country version), but it has a catchy hook, and I'm sure it'll get stuck in everybody's heads as it plays all over the radio. Hopefully, it'll succeed in garnering some attention for her upcoming album.

What do you think? It's definitely fun, and you can tell she is having fun with it! I love how random the video is. I can't wait to hear every song on "Red" and see what stories she tells with her lyrics. How fun to have another record to look forward to!
Related Posts with Thumbnails